Sodium-hydrogen exchanger NHA1 and NHA2 control sperm motility and male fertility

Cell Death Dis. 2016 Mar 24;7(3):e2152. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2016.65.


Our previous work identified NHA1, a testis-specific sodium-hydrogen exchanger, is specifically localized on the principal piece of mouse sperm flagellum. Our subsequent study suggested that the number of newborns and fertility rate of NHA1-vaccinated female mice are significantly stepped down. In order to define the physiological function of NHA1 in spermatozoa, we generated Nha1(Fx/Fx), Zp3-Cre (hereafter called Nha1 cKO) mice and found that Nha1 cKO males were viable and subfertile with reduced sperm motility. Notably, cyclic AMP (cAMP) synthesis by soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) was attenuated in Nha1 cKO spermatozoa and cAMP analogs restored sperm motility. Similar to Nha1 cKO males, Nha2(Fx/Fx), Zp3-Cre (hereafter called Nha2 cKO) male mice were subfertile, indicating these two Nha genes may be functionally redundant. Furthermore, we demonstrated that male mice lacking Nha1 and Nha2 genes (hereafter called Nha1/2 dKO mice) were completely infertile, with severely diminished sperm motility owing to attenuated sAC-cAMP signaling. Importantly, principal piece distribution of NHA1 in spermatozoa are phylogenetically conserved in spermatogenesis. Collectively, our data revealed that NHA1 and NHA2 function as a key sodium-hydrogen exchanger responsible for sperm motility after leaving the cauda epididymidis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiporters / genetics
  • Antiporters / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*


  • Antiporters
  • NHA2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclic AMP